Thursday, 31 December 2009

A short history of fundraising

Well, it's reflection time. A decade of trying to change the world and what have we achieved? Most of us are raising a shedload more money, but then we didn't have gift aid for all in 1999. Very few people had any serious internet access or facilities and few charity websites were more than on-line catalogues. Street canvassing had been invented but few charities took it seriously. Now I spend time in radio and TV studios defending the practice.

So has anything changed fundamentally? The need is still as great, if not greater. Are we as fundraisers constraining ourselves to think conventionally? Are unconventional and outlandish approaches needed to gain a paradigm shift? Not sure I've come to any conclusions yet except that individuals, people, still want to make a difference. What do you think lies ahead for the boldest of us?

In the meantime have a great New Year and new decade.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Fundraising Research takes centre stage

Well, take a bow Lindsay Boswell. Following his resignation from the CASS advisory group he's calling for a think tank to try and innovate, set an agenda, and stimulate some useful fundraising research. Don't like to say I told you so (actully I do), but I did. In 2003 I published research showing we dramatically underinvest in marketing research. Compared to the commercial sector who spend up to four times what charities do, we generally invest less than 0.5% of income on useful marketing research.

Anyone who's heard any of my lectures knows this is a pet hobby horse. If we want help we've got to start helping ourselves. I'm looking at major donors, regular givers, baby boomers, legacy developement and good practice. But, even I can't do it all. Going to the Institute's meeting in February so please, please me and tell me what you think we need to be looking at.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

They do know the price of fish!

Spoke at a very interesting round table session last night for Major Gift fundraisers. Slagged off Cass and the Centre for Philanthropic Giving for not producing useful fundraising research (See Third Sector 8th December) and proceeded to give them the results of some fascinating research into how UK charities look after (or don't) their major givers.

I challenged them to go back to basics and adopt a conceptual model to help understand their donors. All bar two thought this a sound bit of advice even though it was from a self obsessed baby boomer.

We also talked about generational differences and how the next wealthy generation - "Jonesers" might also be researched to find out if and how they think differently. But that of course needs some research funding. Back to the Office of the Third Sector and the lack of practical useful fundraising research. Eat your heart out CASS!